Head coach Ron Rivera fired offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey on Tuesday -- one day after Rivera said he didn't plan any changes to his staff.
Rivera said he made the decision after about 16 hours of evaluation and conversation with general manager Marty Hurney. He woke up at 3:15 a.m. to re-evaluate everything before making a final decision.
"I came to the conclusion going forward the thing we needed to do was bring in a different perspective, different ideas in terms of going forward to what I believe is our ultimate goal and that is winning a Super Bowl,'' Rivera said.
Rivera said he and Hurney discussed a plan and several candidates they had in mind. Asked specifically about Norv Turner and Rob Chudzinski, two coaches with which he has a prior relationship, he said, "The biggest thing is we're going to stick to the plan.''
Rivera was the defensive coordinator at San Diego under Turner from 2008-10. Turner began last season at Minnesota, but re-signed on Nov. 2.
Chudzinski was the offensive coordinator at Carolina during Rivera's first two seasons (2011-12) before going to Cleveland as the head coach for a year. He currently is the offensive coordinator at Indianapolis, which is looking for a new head coach.
Rivera said the candidates under consideration have spent most of their careers in the NFL and have some experience in the read-option offense the Panthers have run since Newton was the first pick of the 2011 draft.
Rivera said the read-option would remain a part of the offense. He also said he's considering taking a somewhat different approach offensively while continuing to be a power running team.
"It'll be about how we attack offensively, some of the things I believe we can do with the personnel we have,'' Rivera said. "I know our personnel is not perfect. Running back and wide receiver being two of the primary ones we have to continue to grow in, and grow with those players and add players.''
Rivera said he talked to Newton about the direction he wants to offense to go after he made the decision to fire both coaches.
"As I was thinking about this he's part of the consideration as to how this will affect him and what we're looking for from him as far as our offense is concerned,'' Rivera said.
Shula, the son of Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, had been the offensive coordinator since 2013, spending the two seasons before that as the quarterbacks coach. Dorsey has been the quarterbacks coach the past five seasons.
It will be the first time Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, hasn't worked with Shula in some capacity since the quarterback arrived in the league.
The move came two days after Carolina was eliminated from the NFC playoffs with a 31-26 loss at New Orleans. It came after a season in which Newton had 22 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions, the second-most picks since his rookie season, when he threw 17.
Newton has 30 interceptions to 41 touchdowns over the past two seasons after throwing a career-best 35 touchdowns in 2015. He also has had career-low passer ratings of 75.8 and 80.7 the past two seasons.
Newton led the team in rushing with 754 yards this season after Rivera spent the offseason saying he wanted the offense to evolve to depend less on the quarterback's running.
"I think Cam's got room for improvement,'' Rivera said. "I really do. There's room for growth and he showed some growth this year and made some big steps.''
The Panthers also could lose defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who has interviews set up with the New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts. Rivera said after the playoff loss he expected to lose Wilks to a head-coaching job.
Rivera indicated on Monday he's likely to hire from within his staff if Wilks leaves. Defensive line coach Eric Washington is one of those that will be considered for a promotion.
Rivera doesn't believe all the changes going on within the organization, which is for sale with owner Jerry Richardson being investigated for workplace misconduct, will impact his ability to attract a quality candidate for the offensive coordinator job.
"To me [this] signals we are looking for an opportunity to continue to grow and get better,'' said Rivera, given on Saturday a two-year extension through 2020. "That's what this move was made for ... something different, something additional, a different perspective that can give us the boost that I'm looking for that will get us to our ultimate goal, and that's the Super Bowl.''